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Friday, 31 July 2009

US Democracy at work: Iraq Ministries Forbid Workers to Join Unions

Below is a translation of recent edict issued by the Minister of Industry and Mines of Iraq to management of state enterprises and employees.

This is the third such edit. Similar ones have been issued by the Ministry of Oil and the Ministry of Transportation.

These memoranda are being issued precisely because independent unions have been organizing effectively across Iraq despite the fact that the Iraqi government continues to enforce Saddam Hussein's ban on unions and bargaining in the public sector and state enterprises.

A draft labor law developed in collaboration with the International Labor Organization has been bottled up in the Council of Ministers and Parliament for more than two years. Iraq's constitution requires that a basic labor rights law be adopted. Iraq is also signatory to ILO Convention 98 on the right of all workers to collectively bargain, which imposes a treaty obligation on the Iraqi government under international law.

The government appears intent on a confrontation with the labor movement, which could end up involving the use of police and/or troops against the workers.

This makes it all the more urgent that we press the U.S. government to speak up in defense of labor rights in Iraq. During more than six years of illegal occupation, the U.S. government has remained silent while workers and their unions have been abused, harassed, attacked, arrested, kidnapped, tortured and assassinated for simply trying to exercise their rights. Congress has yet to hold a single hearing on these gross violations of human rights.

If you have not yet signed the USLAW petition on labor rights, please do so.
If you have already signed, please encourage others to join you.

Sign on the web here.

Download an explanatory flyer and PDF version copy of the petition to circulate in your workplace.

Download PDF flyer
Download PDF petition